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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep Moving
Thankfully the BFI have resurrected this long neglected British classic and I hope it attracts a wide audience. For me the feel of this film reminded me of a WWII poster that simply said "Keep Calm & Carry On" because the characters that inhabit a post-apocalyptic England (caused by a nuclear misunderstanding!) react to their predicament with a stiff upper lip and ironic...
Published on 11 Jun 2009 by Room for a View

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "That's no porridge, that was my wife!"
With a cast which reads like a who's who of British comedy during the `sixties, The Bed-Sitting Room is a big screen adaptation of Spike Milligan's play set in a very different Britain. Taking place a few years after a war which lasted less than two and a half minutes, the few survivors are seen wandering through a post-apocalyptic London, and some of them end up turning...
Published on 4 Oct 2010 by @GeekZilla9000


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep Moving, 11 Jun 2009
By 
Room for a View - See all my reviews
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Thankfully the BFI have resurrected this long neglected British classic and I hope it attracts a wide audience. For me the feel of this film reminded me of a WWII poster that simply said "Keep Calm & Carry On" because the characters that inhabit a post-apocalyptic England (caused by a nuclear misunderstanding!) react to their predicament with a stiff upper lip and ironic detachment. For instance the police (I adore the contraption they use for transport) continue to politely patrol the land requesting anyone they encounter to `keep moving', whilst the few remaining survivors deal with the prospect of metamorphosing into a domestic dwelling or an item of furniture with varying degrees of stoicism. Spike Milligan's magical surrealism haunts the butchered landscape and peppers the narrative in a manner that evokes the best of Monty Python or some of Terry Gilliam's films. I can watch this film again because there is so much to enjoy, principally the incredible art direction and the hilarious script, confidently directed by Richard Lester and performed by a magnificent cast. This edition includes some priceless archive footage of interviews with Peter Cook, Spike Milligan and Richard Lester.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "That's no porridge, that was my wife!", 4 Oct 2010
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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With a cast which reads like a who's who of British comedy during the `sixties, The Bed-Sitting Room is a big screen adaptation of Spike Milligan's play set in a very different Britain. Taking place a few years after a war which lasted less than two and a half minutes, the few survivors are seen wandering through a post-apocalyptic London, and some of them end up turning into an exotic bird or an item of furniture - yes, this is decidedly odd.

Surreal comedy was king at the time, The Goons' radio show was an institution and Monty Python was just starting on the telly, but this film was perhaps a bit *too* surreal for many.

There are some great visual moments which capture the holocaust ridden London nicely; rubble, glimpses of familiar abandoned landmarks, and a tube station in a state reminiscent of the blitz. Needless to say there are plenty of bizarre moments of visual comedy too which are played straight to emphasise the surrealism at the core of the film. There's a sense of a plot, but it gets thinner as the film progresses and turns steadily more strange. Instead of a fluid story this feels like a collection of visual gags which have been thrown together and although you can appreciate many of them, you spend too much time figuring out how they fit in with the film which stops you from simply enjoying them.

Most viewers of the film will have a favourite face they want to see, and for me I watched mainly to see Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore. The film is very faceted and so most characters appear frequently but sometimes only briefly. The more iconic comedians such as Cooke, Moore, and of course Spike Milligan always make an impression though. It almost feels like one of those Christmas specials where The Flintstones and The Jetsons appear in the same feature length cartoon, it's a big moment when a scene is taken over by a legendary figure who is no longer with us and even if the film isn't easygoing it's still worth watching for that.

This Blu-Ray release looks superb. I thought that as this wasn't a particularly glossy production, that high-def wouldn't do it any favours and merely enhance any graining - but I was wrong, thankfully. There are some nice features too including interviews with some of the cast from before the films production, and it's always nice to see some footage which otherwise may go unwatched.

In a nutshell: Some great ideas and incredible talents tangled up in a mess of a film which meanders between strange and genius. Not a film you can sit and entirely enjoy, but a film you ought to `experience'.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew Nuclear War Could Be Such Fun?, 16 April 2009
By 
Brady Orme (Edgbaston, England) - See all my reviews
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There are a few movies out there which can be considered "lost" classics, movies unavailable in any format for years and worthy of great praise at the same time (hence, you couldn't call something like a Frank Stallone film a "Lost" classic, obviously). Ken Russell's "The Devils" is one, and Richard Lester's "The Bed-Sitting Room" is another. But the wait is over, as that indispensible institution the BFI are preparing to release this seminal film as part of their new "Flipside" range of little-known classics.

The film is an Absurdist classic of gargantuan proportions, almost as if Salvador Dali and Philip K. Dick cooked the whole thing up whilst drinking tea in Kings Cross one day. In cinematic history only the works of Luis Bunuel really come close, and Hell, he wasn't funny really, was he? In a post-nuclear British landscape dominated by broken crockery and other bric-a-brac, we soon learn that apparently only 20 people survived the apocalypse, and hence, the next in line to the throne is Mrs Ethel Schroake of 393a High Street, Leytonstone. Otherwise other odd characters such as Lord Fortnum of Alamein (Ralph Richardson) who is metamorphosising into a Bed-Sitting Room, and a mad Postman (Spike Milligan) who spouts mad non-sequiturs at random people populate the landscape. I could go on forever about the characters and their quirks (amd transformations), but that would spoil the film somewhat. Let's just say that you'll be suprised how far a film script can go in terms of insanity.

As per usual, the BFI doesn't skimp on the Extra Features where available, and you can expect a lavish illustrated booklet with an essay on the film by journalist Michael Brooke; and archival interviews with Lester, Milligan and Peter Cook. God bless the BFI - And with releases of other lost classics planned in the near-future, they deserve our respect. Buy and watch in awe!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Nuclear Misunderstanding Lasted 2 Minutes And 28 Seconds (including the peace treaty), 16 Jun 2009
By 
R. Phillips (Wales) - See all my reviews
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Long overdue DVD & BR issue of this unique film. The BFI have done a wonderful job restoring the print - wouldn't it be great to see this in a cinema,too?

The plot seems just as insane as it ever was,(is it ever really possible to make a sane film about nuclear destruction?) and we are left to revel in the great cast performances, and the abundance of gags, both in the script and production design. There are wonderful little moments throughout, such as the shifty way Spike Milligan looks around just before he pockets a scrap he picks from a hole he is digging in the middle of the desolate remains of the M4 Slough turnoff. Fans of Milligan's "dalek" sketch will probably giggle when they note the eviscerated poodle skeleton in Roy Kinnear's car, too!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic that deserves better, 1 Jun 2012
By 
jfkinparis (Edmonton, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bed Sitting Room (BFI Flipside) (DVD + Blu-ray) (DVD)
I've been searching for a decent copy of this film for years, ever since I saw it in my university days on late night TV. Now, finally, it's come to not only DVD but Blu-ray. While the source print might have benefitted from some digital restoration, this edition is still far superior to the bootleg copies that have been floating around for ages. Great to have the period interviews as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nucleur niceities, 15 May 2012
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This review is from: The Bed Sitting Room (BFI Flipside) (DVD + Blu-ray) (DVD)
quite abstract and unusual story of survivors of
nucleur holocaust
quite star studded with plenty of well known faces
cook and moore heading the cast
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid, 16 April 2011
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
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Many years ago I read an odd little book called "The Bed Sitting Room", written by Spine Millington (the well known typing error) and have since forgotten all about it.
Those nice people at Amazon recently suggested this newly re-released film of the book, so I just had to have it.

And what fun! A whole host of 60s stars (Ralph Richardson, Rita Tushingham, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Pete and Dud, and, of course, the inimitable Mr. Millington), play this extraordinary, lunatic, surreal film absolutely straight.

Set in a fantastic post-apocalyptic landscape of total destruction (seems to have been filmed at a number of household waste sites) with lakes full of radioactive scum, and the ground littered with the detritus of millions of destroyed homes, our small band of survivors stagger on their way to being mutated into houses and furniture.

An endless stream of Goonish gags in the script (I will have to watch it several times again to catch all of them), soften the tone - but underlying it seems to be Spike's reaction to the endless (and often unspoken) Cold War fear of total destruction, brought on by our incompetent politicians (a lovely scene early in the film has Harold Wilson cowtowing to Mao Tse Tung, seconds before the bombs go off).

Brilliant, scary, sad and very very funny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bed Sitting Room - Finally, a DVD release for this British classic, 19 Sep 2009
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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Scripted by Spike Milligan and directed by Richard Lester and with a cast reading like a Who's Who of the comedy of the era (Milligan himself and fellow Goon Harry Secombe, Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore, Michael Hordern, Arthur Lowe, Marty Feldman and Richard Lester stalwart Roy Kinnear) along with the great classical actor Ralph Richardson, this was destined to be either a triumph or an overindulgent muddled mess. Opinion is largely divided on the subject, with people either loving or hating this film. Needless to say, I'm firmly in the 'love it' camp.

The set up is quite simple - after the great nuclear misunderstanding, the population of Britain has been reduced to twenty eight. Scarred by the experience the survivors wander around the landscape, trying in the stiff upper lip English way to carry on as usual, but slowly mutating into bed sitting rooms and furniture.

I'm not sure you could class this as a comedy. It is a study of people trying to cope with an unimaginable horror, and while there are some very funny bits (the newscaster in particular had me chuckling) most of it is quite dark. While it is filled with zany silliness and madness, a la the goon show or monty python, it is not funny in the context, but somewhat disturbing, as it appears to be the result of minds broken by the incomprehensible horrors that they have witnessed.

The film has been nicely restored, with both picture and soundtrack in excellent condition. The DVD extras comprise of the theatrical trailer, and interviews with Milligan Cooke and Lester, which are well worth watching, especially Milligan's. There is also an excellent booklet with several essays about the genesis and making of the film, and details of its critical reception at the time.

A very thought provoking, and at times disturbing film, this is a masterpiece. Thoroughly recommended to fans of the Goons and Python, or anyone looking for something a bit different to anything else they've ever seen. Just don't expect to be laughing.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Classic found, 22 July 2009
By 
Kristopher Gray "mrbassman" (Gerolstein, Germany) - See all my reviews
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At last this long lost classic piece of sixties satire has found a DVD release, now I can dump that fading VHS copy I have had for years that was taped off the telly. The mix of the best of British comedy actors, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook, Marty Felman and Arthur Lowe alongside such classic actors as Micheal Hornden and Ralph Richardson is nothing less than magical.

Set in a post apolocalyptic London where the survivors are encouraged to 'keep moving' or they will morf into something else, like a bed sitting room. With Mrs Ethel Shroake as the next in line to the throne, a family living on the circle line train that only stops between stations so they can live off the chocolate machines, the army reduced to one man and a host of bizarre charactors in the ruins of London.

The tightly written script by, I would guess predominately Spike Milligan, and John Antrobus is full of topical humour and some surprising unpolitically correct statements, like 'No Wogs'.

This is still a film to be watched over and over to get all the jokes, after forty years I'm still laughing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comedy of the wasteland, 7 Aug 2009
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The Bed Sitting Room is many things, an oddball British comedy with few laughs, performed by a stellar cast of acting and comic talent, but is an oddity in every sense, the tone never quite gels either as farce or tragedy it is a curious and queasy melange of both. It is as if the Cormac MacCarthy novel The Road, with its bleak post apocalyptic landscape had been adapted by the Carry on crew and played out as a dark and very british comedy. It is wonderful to have it available, especially as it is such a good and pristine example of the work of the great production designer Assheton Gorton (Blow Up, The Knack, The French Lieutenatnt's Woman etc)and in Blu-ray format too. If nothing else it is a repository of fine quirky performances by so many character actors and comedians,so few of whom (sadly) are still with us. Highly reccomended but as a curiosity.
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The Bed Sitting Room (BFI Flipside) (DVD + Blu-ray)
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